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Gucci Awarded $4.7M in Guess Case

By Connie Gibilaro [November 15th, 2012] 

Anyone who has walked into a Guess store in the past four years has probably noticed that the company’s handbags resemble the iconic Gucci pattern. Sure, both brands start with the letter “G,” but does that really give Guess the right to use a trademark that is strikingly similar to the luxury brand?

According to a federal judge in Manhattan, the answer is no. On May 21, 2012, WWD reported that Gucci won its trademark battle against Guess Inc., but Gucci did not receive the damage award that it was expecting. Gucci claimed that it suffered $221 million in damages, but it was only awarded $4.7 million in combined damages from Guess and its footwear licensee Marc Fisher Footwear. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote that Gucci had proven its dilution claims under the Lanham Act, which is the primary federal trademark statute in the

United States, and limited Guess’ use of the Quattro G pattern in brown and beige colorways. However, Scheindlin rejected Gucci’s counterfeiting claim, noting “courts have uniformly restricted trademark counterfeiting claims to those situations where entire products have been copied stitch-for-stitch.”

In an eloquent twist, Scheindlin quoted Oscar Wilde, who described fashion as “a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” According to WWD, Scheindlin wrote, “With the instant disputes now resolved, and with Gucci’s entitlement to the relief noted above, it is my hope that this ugliness will be limited to the runway and shopping floor, rather than spilling over into the courts.”

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What You See is Not Always What You Get

By Allison Tenenbaum [January 10th, 2012] 

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The British Advertising Standards Authority has continuously expressed their dislike for Photoshopped pictures by banning any ad that appears “overly perfected and unrealistic.” Some of the blocked images include a Lancome ad featuring Julia Roberts and a Maybelline ad featuring Christy Turlington. The United States has not taken any similar action, however, the National Advertising Division (NAD) is hoping to completely get rid of all Photoshoppped ads.

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Humane Society Targets Retailers for “Faux Fur” Claims

By Melanie Perez [December 28th, 2011] 

faux fur

According to WWD, the Humane Society of the U.S. has filed a legal petition with the Federal Trade Commission against 11 major retailers for allegedly mislabeling and falsely advertising fur-trimmed products. According to the Humane Society, the retailers advertised various items as being made with “faux” fur when it reality the products contained real animal fur. Jonathan R. Lovvorn, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for animal protection litigation for the HSUS, claims that “there is an epidemic of false advertising in the fur industry.” He adds that, “Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying, but many major retailers just don’t seem to care if consumers are deceived, even though real fur is something many consumers are determined to avoid.”

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Salon Only Myth

By Maggie Sicklinger [April 27th, 2011] 

salon only

Salon FAD is a group of salons that have banded together to fight cosmetic retail giants from diverting their trade.  Salon FAD v. L’Oreal USA Inc., S.D.N.Y. No. 1:10-cv-05063-DLC.  Large cosmetic retailers, like L’Oreal, market many products that include the words, “Salon-only” on their packaging, despite the fact that many of these products are retailed through large discount chains like CVS.  L’Oreal argued that FAD’s injuries were not fairly traceable to this practice, a standing requirement.  The court disagreed stating that consumers are likely to pay a premium for products so marked because they associate them with professional expertise; therefore, because they are available for purchase outside of salons, the practice had damaged FAD’s reputation.  <Read more>

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Naked Lawsuit

By Danielle Turturo [February 16th, 2011] 

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The famous Naked Cowboy of Times Square is suing CBS for the shirt off their back. The lawsuit filed on Monday, for $1.5 million in damages for trademark infringement, accused CBS the network of using a guitar-toting drunken fool in a cowboy hat and underwear to promote “The Bold and the Beautiful,” claiming they violated his trademark by having a naked guy playing a guitar featured on one of their soaps.

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SHAME on Reebok – Scamming American Society Into Believing They Can Score Shapely “Stems” Without Breaking a Sweat

By Ashly Sands [December 10th, 2010] 

EasyTone Ad

There’s nothing like a good shortcut – especially when you are looking for to succeed in skinny and surge in strength without the “supersets”… To bad it STILL doesn’t exist. Reebok has boasted that its “blockbuster” EasyTone sneakers are proven “to give you a better butt and legs with every step.” See the sneaker snafu here. Now they are bragging about “built in resistance bands” in tops and pants that will buff up the whole body…check out the fitness gear fraud here.

BUTT, despite Reebok’s revealing representations we just keep hearing that the rump shapers just don’t live up to its assertions. The Wall Street Journal reported that the American  Counsel on Exercise conducted a study with a team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, which determined that, “…none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials… There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.” <Read more>

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Another Satisfied Customer…

By Toni Guarino [November 6th, 2010] 

Rocawear Jeans

..Or so the Defendant-Appellees would like us to think.

V.I.M. is a chain of clothing stores in the New York area that sells name-brand jeans and sneakers at a discounted price.  Famous Horse, Inc. is appealing a verdict in their lawsuit against 5th Avenue Photo Inc., operates the store.  This is not the first action Famous Horse has brought against 5th Ave Photo.  In the present case, the defendant (and Appellee) supplied V.I.M. with Rocawear brand jeans for a discount.  After purchasing the jeans, V.I.M. found out that they were counterfeit and stopped selling them.  But, Appellees did not stop selling the jeans to other customers, and in the course of pursuing potential customers, said that V.I.M. was another satisfied customer.

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Sweet and Sour Competition

By Maysa Razavi [October 17th, 2010] 

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Grabbing my morning coffee on my way to class today, I stopped when I saw the yellow Equal packets (see the right).  I drink my coffee with one blue Equal and one pink Sweet’N Low. I prefer the pink stuff but decided that, since Saccharin has been listed by the FDA as a cancer-causing substance, I figure Equal cuts my chances. When I went to grab sweetener, I saw Splenda and Equal are both yellow.

I thought Equal was going to rebrand itself yellow – which I thought would be unfair. To me, Splenda is yellow, Equal is blue, and Sweet’N Low is pink. I see other brands using the colors, but they usually change the shapes of the packaging to the tubular form.  I looked a little closer at the label on the fine print the “same sweetener as Splenda”, which made me more confused because I thought that the three brands were all different sweeting chemicals.

Color can be protectable under the Lanham Act if consumers associates it with the product. I clearly think yellow sugar is Splenda. Splenda also has won an injunction against a generic brand of sweetener as well.

For a minute I thought, does Splenda have a trade dress case against Equal? <Read more>

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Do My Eyes Deceive Me?

By Danielle Turturo [September 14th, 2010] 

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After a six-year long court battle, eBay has come out on top. Back in 2004, Tiffany’s filed a law suit, seeking relief on claims for direct and contributory trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising and direct and contributory trademark dilution after accusing the auctioneer of deceiving customers by allowing the sale of counterfeit Tiffany’s jewelry on its website. The only claim that survived was false advertising. In a decision rendered this past Friday in Manhattan (Tiffany (NJ) Inc. et al v. eBay Inc., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 04-04607),  U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan concluded, “Tiffany’s failed to establish that eBay ‘intentionally set out to deceive the public,’ much less that eBay’s conduct was of an ‘egregious nature’ sufficient to create a presumption that customers were being deceived.”
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